‘Fragile’ is the first word that comes to mind when listening to “Week 51″ off of Sorority Noise’s lates 7”, “Alone”. ‘Dreamlike’ is another, caused mostly by the powerful orchestration. It’s the kind of song that would be playing during a timelapse in a movie when one character is lying on their bed, staring at the ceiling or sitting in a chair, staring out the window, while they’re stuck in some kind of paralysis, unable to continue with their lives as planned for some terrible reason.
“Fermata”, the second song, evokes some entirely different feelings. With lyrics that appear simple at first, yet have a deeper meaning to them and are slightly morbid, to be honest, it is as much of a musical counterpart to the first song as one could expect on a B-side to Sorority Noise’s latest full length record “You’re Not As _____ As You Think”.
“Alone” possesses the power of transporting the listener to the point when these songs were born. It is a place to revisit when you need to be grounded and clear your mind. A perfect fit for the blank left in “You’re Not As _____ As You Think”, “Alone” leaves you not alone, but lighter than you felt before. When the last note faded, so did everything I was feeling up until that point; a strangely cathartic experience.
Faultless Rating: ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
With their third full-length album, Citizen are laughing loudly into the faces of those who thought the quintet had nothing left to explore after releasing two records that instantly became essentials for every emo aficionado’s collection. In a world that incessantly creates new genres, “As You Please” proves that, even though Citizen might have already found their place, that does by no means imply that they’ve run out of ideas.
The opener, “Jet”, acts as a reminder to show us where Citizen are coming from and it already offers a glimpse of where they plan to take us in the next fifty minutes, too – spoiler alert: there are lots of experiments coming at you. Be it “In The Middle Of It All”, which starts with choir-like high-pitched vocals before launching into more familiar, somber tones, or “World”, which presents the band at their most melodic, almost drifting into pop-punk. “Discrete Routine”, a slow, piano-driven song in which, at first listen, nothing -except for Mat Kerekes’ vocals- suggests that this could be a Citizen song, even takes on a Brand New level of increasing tempo, volume and complexity. The dark, accusing lyrics suggest that these songs weren’t just written out of personal interest either.
Even those tracks with a simpler structure, like “Medicine” or “Control”, become special by the ever-present passion that acts as a fundament for every Citizen song. I’ve wracked my brain trying to find a negative thing to say about this record, but I have to disappoint you here. There are so many ideas squeezed into these twelve songs that you’ll discover something new with every listen. Despite, or maybe even due to, the tentative steps toward different elements, “As You Please” is as them as it gets… plus, there’s an extraordinary amount of catchy moments, hooks, lyrics.
Faultless Rating: ✔✔✔✔✔
Song recommendation(s): Control, Discrete Routine, I Forgive No One
You could tell by the songs that had been released in advance that Neck Deep’s third full length album would be quieter, yet still very characteristic of the band. The result is a solid pop-punk album, this time with an emphasis on the “pop” part, rather than the “punk” part, as it used to be.
“The Peace And The Panic” – two polar opposites that don’t just reoccur in the title track “Motion Sickness”, but are in fact a fitting summary of the album. With a variation of dynamics spreading throughout eleven tracks, Neck Deep effectively demonstrate their versatility. Equally diverse in tempo and topics, it is particularly the teamwork on the lyrics within the band that proves successful, so that the subjects are sometimes of global (“Happy Judgement Day”) and other times of personal (“19 Seventy Sumthin’”, “Wish You Were Here”) importance. The former should, especially at a point like this, be much more present in music, so it is great to see one more band speak up. Architects’ Sam Carter’s contribution on “Don’t Wait” is an excellent example of a concise statement that could be capable of waking up those who otherwise wouldn’t care.
Nonetheless, you can’t deny that it’s not always easy to be original. Some songs, like “Motion Sickness”, “Where Do We Go…” and “Heavy Lies” pass you by, while others linger in your head for days after listening, be it for the lyrical contents or the riffs. Ironically, there’s something about “The Grand Delusion” that makes it sound a little off. Maybe that was intentional and I just didn’t see it, but, either way, hitting the lowest point at track number three and then just going up again is far from being the worst balance. Several songs have the potential of becoming a real tear-jerker, yet surprisingly, my personal highlight is the seemingly inconspicuous, but catchy and very Green-Day-esque “Critical Mistake”.
Faultless Rating: ✔✔✔
Song recommendation(s): Critical Mistake, Don’t Wait, Happy Judgement Day